IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/jecper/v25y2011i3p173-96.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Internal Migration in the United States

Author

Listed:
  • Raven Molloy
  • Christopher L. Smith
  • Abigail Wozniak

Abstract

This paper examines the history of internal migration in the United States since the 1980s. By most measures, internal migration in the United States is at a 30-year low. The widespread decline in migration rates across a large number of subpopulations suggests that broad-based economic forces are likely responsible for the decrease. An obvious question is the extent to which the recent housing market contraction and the recession may have caused this downward trend in migration: after all, relocation activity often involves both housing market activity and changes in employment. However, we find relatively small roles for both of these cyclical factors. While we will suggest a few other possible explanations for the recent decrease in migration, the puzzle remains. Finally, we compare U.S. migration to other developed countries. Despite the steady decline in U.S. migration, the commonly held belief that Americans are more mobile than their European counterparts still appears to hold true.

Suggested Citation

  • Raven Molloy & Christopher L. Smith & Abigail Wozniak, 2011. "Internal Migration in the United States," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 173-196, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:25:y:2011:i:3:p:173-96
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.25.3.173
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.25.3.173
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/jep/app/2503_molloy_app.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gordon B. Dahl, 2002. "Mobility and the Return to Education: Testing a Roy Model with Multiple Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2367-2420, November.
    2. Michael R. Haines, 1994. "The Population of the United States, 1790-1920," NBER Historical Working Papers 0056, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Raven E. Saks & Abigail Wozniak, 2011. "Labor Reallocation over the Business Cycle: New Evidence from Internal Migration," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(4), pages 697-739.
    4. Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, 2012. "Negative equity does not reduce homeowners’ mobility," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Feb, pages 1-17.
    5. Greg Kaplan & Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, 2012. "Interstate Migration Has Fallen Less Than You Think: Consequences of Hot Deck Imputation in the Current Population Survey," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 49(3), pages 1061-1074, August.
    6. John Kennan & James R. Walker, 2011. "The Effect of Expected Income on Individual Migration Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(1), pages 211-251, January.
    7. Larry Long, 1991. "Residential Mobility Differences among Developed Countries," International Regional Science Review, , vol. 14(2), pages 133-147, August.
    8. International Monetary Fund, 2010. "United States: Selected Issues Paper," IMF Staff Country Reports 2010/248, International Monetary Fund.
    9. Mortensen, Dale & Pissarides, Christopher, 2011. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 1, pages 1-19.
    10. Diamond, Peter A, 1982. "Aggregate Demand Management in Search Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(5), pages 881-894, October.
    11. Ferreira, Fernando & Gyourko, Joseph & Tracy, Joseph, 2010. "Housing busts and household mobility," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 34-45, July.
    12. repec:brs:ecchap:12 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Richard K. Green & Patric H. Hendershott, 2001. "Home-ownership and Unemployment in the US," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 38(9), pages 1509-1520, August.
    14. Larry Long & C. Tucker & William Urton, 1988. "Migration distances: An international comparison," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 25(4), pages 633-640, November.
    15. Robert Shimer, 2007. "Mismatch," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1074-1101, September.
    16. Tolbert, Charles M., II & Killian, Molly Sizer, 1987. "Labor Market Areas for the United States," Staff Reports 277959, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    17. Gerald Carlino & Satyajit Chatterjee, 2002. "Employment Deconcentration: A New Perspective on America’s Postwar Urban Evolution," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(3), pages 445-475, August.
    18. David H. Autor & David Dorn, 2013. "The Growth of Low-Skill Service Jobs and the Polarization of the US Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(5), pages 1553-1597, August.
    19. Larry A. Sjaastad, 1970. "The Costs and Returns of Human Migration," Palgrave Macmillan Books, in: Harry W. Richardson (ed.), Regional Economics, chapter 9, pages 115-133, Palgrave Macmillan.
    20. W. A. V. Clark, 1985. "Human Migration," Book Chapters, in: Grant I. Thrall (ed.),Scientific Geography, pages 51, Regional Research Institute, West Virginia University.
    21. Treyz, George I, et al, 1993. "The Dynamics of U.S. Internal Migration," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(2), pages 209-214, May.
    22. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2009. "The Changing Selectivity of American Colleges," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(4), pages 95-118, Fall.
    23. Henley, Andrew, 1998. "Residential Mobility, Housing Equity and the Labour Market," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(447), pages 414-427, March.
    24. DaVanzo, Julie, 1983. "Repeat Migration in the United States: Who Moves Back and Who Moves On?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(4), pages 552-559, November.
    25. Bonin, Holger & Eichhorst, Werner & Florman, Christer & Hansen, Mette Okkels & Skiöld, Lena & Stuhler, Jan & Tatsiramos, Konstantinos & Thomasen, Henrik & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2008. "Geographic Mobility in the European Union: Optimising its Economic and Social Benefits," IZA Research Reports 19, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    26. George J. Borjas, 2021. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Foundational Essays in Immigration Economics, chapter 4, pages 69-91, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    27. Bruce Fallick & Charles A. Fleischman, 2004. "Employer-to-employer flows in the U.S. labor market: the complete picture of gross worker flows," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-34, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    28. Schwartz, Aba, 1973. "Interpreting the Effect of Distance on Migration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(5), pages 1153-1169, Sept.-Oct.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Jia, Ning & Molloy, Raven & Smith, Christopher L. & Wozniak, Abigail, 2022. "The Economics of Internal Migration: Advances and Policy Questions," IZA Discussion Papers 15047, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Raven E. Saks & Abigail Wozniak, 2011. "Labor Reallocation over the Business Cycle: New Evidence from Internal Migration," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(4), pages 697-739.
    3. Modestino, Alicia Sasser & Dennett, Julia, 2013. "Are American homeowners locked into their houses? The impact of housing market conditions on state-to-state migration," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 322-337.
    4. Yagan, Danny, 2016. "The Enduring Employment Impact of Your Great Recession Location," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt12d0w9bs, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    5. Caliendo, Marco & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Hennecke, Juliane & Uhlendorff, Arne, 2019. "Locus of control and internal migration," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(C).
    6. Jens Ruhose, 2015. "Microeconometric Analyses on Economic Consequences of Selective Migration," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 61, November.
    7. Chung Choe & E. LaBrent Chrite, 2014. "Internal Migration of Blacks in South Africa: An Application of the Roy Model," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 82(1), pages 81-98, March.
    8. Botsch, Matthew J. & Morris, Stephen D., 2021. "Job loss risk, expected mobility, and home ownership," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C).
    9. Kristiina Huttunen & Jarle Møen & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2018. "Job Loss and Regional Mobility," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(2), pages 479-509.
    10. Yashiv, Eran, 2007. "Labor search and matching in macroeconomics," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(8), pages 1859-1895, November.
    11. Egger Eva-Maria, 2021. "Migrating out of mega-cities: Evidence from Brazil," IZA Journal of Development and Migration, Sciendo & Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 12(1), pages 1-35, January.
    12. Jennifer Hunt, 2004. "Are migrants more skilled than non-migrants? Repeat, return, and same-employer migrants," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 37(4), pages 830-849, November.
    13. Kim, Jun Sung & Lee, Jongkwan, 2019. "The role of intergenerational mobility in internal migration," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 1-15.
    14. Plamen Nenov, 2013. "Regional Mismatch and Labor Reallocation in an Equilibrium Model of Migration," 2013 Meeting Papers 565, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    15. Petri Böckerman & Mika Haapanen, 2013. "The effect of polytechnic reform on migration," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(2), pages 593-617, April.
    16. Bertoli, S. & Fernández-Huertas Moraga, J. & Ortega, F., 2013. "Crossing the border: Self-selection, earnings and individual migration decisions," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 75-91.
    17. Brian Cushing & Jacques Poot, 2004. "Crossing boundaries and borders: Regional science advances in migration modelling," Advances in Spatial Science, in: Raymond J. G. M. Florax & David A. Plane (ed.), Fifty Years of Regional Science, pages 317-338, Springer.
    18. Parkhomenko, Andrii, 2016. "Opportunity to Move: Macroeconomic Effects of Relocation Subsidies," MPRA Paper 75256, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Michaelides, Marios, 2011. "The effect of local ties, wages, and housing costs on migration decisions," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 132-140, April.
    20. Benoit Schmutz & Modibo Sidibé & Elie Vidal-Naquet, 2021. "Why Are Low-Skilled Workers Less Mobile? The Role of Mobility Costs and Spatial Frictions," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 142, pages 283-304.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • R21 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Housing Demand
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:25:y:2011:i:3:p:173-96. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Michael P. Albert (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.